February 4, 2014: Computer Science faculty Tanya Berger-Wolf has received two grants from Microsoft Research to support her work in computational behavioral ecology

Computer Science faculty Tanya Berger-Wolf has received two grants from Microsoft Research to support her work in computational behavioral ecology.

She has received a 1 year Azure for Research Microsoft cloud services (value $40,000) and a separate $20,000 gift to support infrastructure for existing and new projects towards building an ecological information system, moving behavioral ecology into the era of data science.

Project abstract:

Technology has given us an unprecedented window into the movements, activity, and interactions of individuals. Thanks to GPS, video and photo-based individual recognition, accelerometers, and rich social network structure, we can now know, every second, every minute, where each individual is, how fast they are moving, what type of activity they might be engaged in, and who they are with. For humans, this kind of knowledge has been the basis of many warning news articles about the surveillance state. However, for social animals, these kinds of data, now finally becoming available, are giving us the opportunity to answer the big questions about why animals (including humans) do what they do, why they go where they go, how they make decisions, and how evolution shapes this behavior.

However, in this area of movement of social animals, like many others, our ability to collect data far outstrips our ability to make sense of those data. While there is a rich history of modeling movement of individual animals in the context of their habitat and of collective behavior, it has never been done at the super high resolution of temporal and spatial scales, as well as for animals with rich structure of interactions and heterogeneity of social roles. The goal of this project is to develop tools and models to take location traces data of social animals and to create predictive and descriptive models of individual and collective movement, taking into account micro and macro behavior, ecological and habitat context, and the interactions with other individuals.











































 
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